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The Media Network Vintage Vault 2020-2021

January 2020 - A message from Jonathan Marks

Welcome to a new decade. I'm Jonathan Marks. If this is the first time you've visited the vault, then I'm glad you dropped by! There are over 565 editions of Media Network, representing just over half the episodes that we made and broadcast from the Radio Netherlands' studios in Hilversum.

As you may know, I currently work with all kinds of high-tech scale-ups working in Photonics and Terahertz technologies in many parts of Europe, but especially in the Eindhoven and Enschede regions of the Netherlands. I'm particularly fascinated because this country is where international broadcasting started in Europe and where the long-range properties of shortwave radio were first discovered in 1926/1927. Last year on November 6th 2019, we celebrated 100 years of radio in The Netherlands. This year this country is celebrating 75 years since liberation from Nazi occupation as well as 75 years of the UN. Media Network made several documentaries to explain the very different contribution that Dutch international broadcasting made to media in other parts of the world.. You can read more about some of the forgotten firsts in this article I wrote on the Medium platform here. A video of the presentation on November 6th will be posted here soon.

Reliving the Mainstream broadcast heritage of the 20th Century.

In early February 2010, I began an online experiment here on Libsyn with podcasting to understand how the distribution system works and see whether we could rebuild an audience. We wanted to recreate a place to listen to vintage editions of the Media Network programme as broadcast on short-wave by Radio Netherlands in the period 1981-2000. It is over 38 years since "Media Network" was launched as the name of the media show on Radio Netherlands, building on the rich heritage of programmes that went before it.

We ran the programme on the shortwave wireless from May 7th 1981 until the end of October 2000 with more than 1000 editions of the show. Many of the features are gradually making their way onto this website as a celebration of international broadcasting's second Golden Age.

Radio Netherlands no longer exists as a radio station in English in the way that we knew it. (They signed off at the end of June 2012 as documented on this site). The RN Classical Music station was around for a short while after, but that too had been yanked from the Interwebs. Join me in raising a glass to the great days of analogue adventures!

We have now reached more than 923,790 downloads, numbers being boosted by interest in the programmes about Rwanda, North Korea and several documentaries about propaganda, during the Second World War and later. On average, when I am actively uploading, this site logs around 6670 downloaded episodes a month, which isn't bad for vintage material. 

First of its kind

Media Network was one of the first international communications magazines of its time. I hosted and produced the programme, but a lot of the content was made by a network of volunteer monitors, reporters and researchers located all over the globe. Diana Janssen also joined me as co-host during the last 5 years of the programme. She made a considerable contribution to our success.

Where do these shows come from?

I kept copies of most of the show, especially those that dealt with specific issues or were connected to current events in that period. Since leaving Radio Netherlands in 2003, I have gradually digitized the tapes as part of my research into international broadcasting and where it might go after shortwave. Personally, I find it amazing to relive this era, especially as most of it was pre-Web, pre-Skype, pre-YouTube, pre-email, when most people thought twice about picking up the phone to call a radio station in another country. There is also a lot to be learned from what worked and what failed. Too many recent media ventures could have learned a lot from those who went before them. 

I am always interested in your reactions, especially from people who may be discovering this material for the first time. It will encourage me to post more. Looking at the site stats, it would seem that around 13% of the subscribers are downloading via iTunes. The rest do so directly from the site or using 3rd party apps. Please tell friends about the vault and encourage them to subscribe. We have opened an email address for this:

There are also radio related videos which I made more recently over on my video vault on Vimeo. You will find links to those videos here on this blog.

Finding a show 

This is a new form of the website now that Libsyn has updated the style of the podcast feeds. You can also subscribe in iTunes by searching for "Media Network Vintage". As each "new" edition is published, it will download automatically to your MP3-player of choice. I personally find the Downcast app to be the best for IOS. But other podcast apps are available.

I know some of the material here is niche stuff to many broadcasters - but I also know that people interested in international communications and broadcasting are very passionate people. Because of politics, it provided a constant wave of stories. I also believe that we developed one of the first collaborative formats on international radio, where individuals could do some detective work, report their results, and share experiences with those with a similar passion.

We have started to release video versions of Media Network. I have succeeded in filming on my travels, including in Washington DC, Bucharest, Caversham, Vienna and Berlin. Watch this space in 2020.

Mar 2, 2010

A few nights before the Americans went into Kuwait in January 1991 to liberate it from the Iraqi's, Russian troops went into Vilnius, the capital of what is now the independent country of Lithuania. This is the story of that Russian invasion as recounted by Radio Vilnius, operating at the time from the recording studios of the blind foundation. Transmission date January 20th 1991.

Jim Davies
seven and a half years ago

Wow, a chilling programme detailing events not far from either Holland or the UK and not that long ago.

Is that a minidisc beep I hear at the beginning incidentally? Sounds like my Sharp 701!

osmar lima
almost ten years ago

Hi, Jonathan Marks.

Thanks for podcasting some of your shows. I could listen some of them here in Brazil although I could not understand completely because my limited English but now I think I will understand them completely.

Gary Drew
almost ten years ago

I always loved Media Network and it\'s great to hear the shows again on demand from your archive. Congratulations on a great idea!

Jonathan Marks
almost ten years ago

Thanks for your support. Just hit 5000 subscribers to these vintage shows. Your support is great.

Jonathan Marks
almost ten years ago

More shows? There will be more editions posted as from March 22nd 2010. Have hit the monthly limit imposed by this website.

Steve Coombs
almost ten years ago

Thanks Jonathan. good to hear these again. Still miss MN to this day

Dr Derek Lynch, Ireland
almost ten years ago

I listyened to every program, right from the start. This is a fantastic project and resource.

Tom Gavaras
almost ten years ago

Thank you for posting these, Jonathan. I also was a regular listener to your show and frequently recorded them to cassette and CD to listen to when driving to work. It was also a pleasure to meet you in the early 1990s during your visit to Minneapolis.

Jonathan Marks
almost ten years ago

Hi Tom. I remember the visit to the radio studios well. Wish I had the HD video camera with me then. I\'m going to combine these vintage recordings with new material I am shooting on video.

Marie Lamb
almost ten years ago

Thanks for putting up this show, Jonathan, and all the others! This was one of the first Media Network shows I ever heard, and I tuned in every week after that until the show ended. Terrific show!